Sure, the holidays are about friends and family and the spirit of the season. After all, Santa Claus is coming to town! But they're also about food, glorious food.


On Facebook and Twitter, we asked Carolina Woman readers to vote for their most-loved holiday recipes from the years the magazine has been online at carolinawoman.com. Here are their delicious answers.



Eggnog Supreme


From "Best of Bridge Holiday Classics - 225 Recipes
for Special Occasions," published by Robert Rose


12 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
1 cup brandy
1-1/3 cups rye or rum
2 cups half-and-half cream
12 egg whites
3 cups heavy or whipping cream
Nutmeg for garnish


Makes 24 servings


In a large bowl, beat egg yolks and sugar together until lemon-colored and thick. Add brandy, rye and half-and-half. Blend well. Chill for several hours. Beat egg whites until stiff. Beat whipping cream in large bowl and fold in egg whites. Fold into egg yolk mixture. Pour into a large punch bowl. Sprinkle with grated nutmeg. Enjoy!



Butternut Squash Soup


From "Our Table - Time-tested Recipes, Memorable Meals," by Renee Muller, published by Artscroll


2 tablespoons oil
4 onions, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 large butternut squash, peeled and diced
1 large knob celery root, peeled and diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon salt or Lawry's seasoned salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 (fifteen-ounce) can tomato sauce


In a large pot, heat the oil. Add onions and garlic; sauté until onions are softened. Add butternut squash, knob celery and carrots. Add the spices. Add water just to cover. Bring soup to a simmer; cook until butternut squash is fork tender, about 1 hour.


Blend soup until smooth, using an immersion blender. Add tomato sauce; blend again.
Taste; adjust seasoning to your liking.


Note: This soup freezes well. When defrosting, re-blend using the immersion blender to restore creaminess.


Yields 8 servings



Garam Masala Turkey Salad With Tamarind-Cranberry Agrodolce

From "The Modern Salad - Innovative New American and International Recipes Inspired by Burma's Iconic Tea Leaf Salad" by Elizabeth Howes, published by Ulysses Press


4 pounds bone-in, skin-on turkey breast
1-1/2 tablespoons, plus 1/2 teaspoon garam masala, divided
1 tablespoon grape seed oil
1/2 cup roughly chopped dried cranberries
2 tablespoons finely diced shallot
3 cups unseasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons tamarind paste (or substitute 1/4 cup lime juice)
2 finely diced cloves garlic
1 pinch dried chile pepper flakes
1/4 cup maple syrup (grade B)
1 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
3/4 pound feta cheese
1/2 cup finely diced scallion, plus extra for garnish
4 cups roughly chopped spinach
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Rub 1-1/2 tablespoons of the garam masala along with sea salt and pepper onto the turkey breast, distributing evenly. In a large cast-iron or other heavy skillet over medium-high heat, add the grape seed oil.


Once the oil is shimmering, place the turkey breast, skin side down, in the pan. Cook for about 4 minutes, oruntil golden. Turn the breast over, and transfer to the oven for another 20 to 25 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches at least 165 degrees. Allow to cool before slicing into bite-size pieces.


For the agrodolce, whisk together the cranberries, shallot, rice vinegar, tamarind paste, garlic, chile pepper flakes and maple syrup in a medium saucepan over high heat. Once boiling, season with salt and pepper, and lower to medium.


Simmer for 10 to 12 minutes, or until reduced by about half, with a slightly syrupy consistency. Add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of garam masala, and stir to combine.


Remove from the heat, and transfer to a glass jar. The agrodolce may be refrigerated for up to a week.


Toss the turkey, pine nuts, feta, scallion, spinach, olive oil and black pepper with the desired amount of agrodolce in a large bowl. Serve on individual plates and garnish with extra scallions.


Yields 4 servings



Potato Latkes


From "Food, Family and Tradition - Hungarian Kosher Family Recipes and Remembrances," by Lynn Kirsche Shapiro, published by The Cherry Press


4 medium russet potatoes
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
teaspoon freshly grated black pepper, optional
Vegetable oil, as needed for frying

Grate the potatoes into a medium bowl using the second-finest side of a box grater. Or use the food processor fitted with the metal blade: Chop potatoes into chunks; grate finely by pulsing, but do not purée.


Transfer potatoes and their juices to a medium bowl. Add the eggs and salt. Mix very well. Add pepper if using.


In a 12-inch sauté pan over medium-high heat, heat 1/4 inch of oil. When a drop of water sizzles and evaporates immediately, the pan is hot.


Drop latke batter by 1/4-cup ladles or large spoon carefully into the frying pan. Fry on one side until edges are crispy and golden, about 3 minutes. Turn once and fry until cooked through and crispy on the other side. Transfer latkes to a paper towel-lined plate and repeat using remaining batter, adding more oil if necessary.


Makes 8 to 10 latkes


Gingerbread Cookie Dough Peppermint Bark


From "The Cookie Dough Lover's Cookbook,"
by Lindsay Landis, published by Quirk Books


For cookie dough:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
3 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
3 tablespoons molasses
teaspoon ground allspice
teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
teaspoon salt
3/4 cup all-purpose flour

For peppermint bark:
12 ounces (1-1/2 cups) semisweet or dark chocolate chips
12 ounces (1-1/2 cups) white chocolate chips
1/2 cup crushed peppermint candies or candy canes


Combine butter, brown sugar and molasses in a large mixing bowl; beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add spices and salt and mix well. Add flour, 1/4 cup at a time, and mix until the dough comes together in large crumbles. Set aside.


In a microwave-safe bowl or glass measuring cup, microwave chocolate chips at half power for 2 to 3 minutes or until chocolate is almost fully melted, stirring every 15 seconds. Remove from microwave and continue to stir until chocolate is smooth. Pour onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat, spreading into an even layer. Chill until just set, about 10 minutes.


Repeat with white chocolate chips. Before the white chocolate layer sets, sprinkle crushed candy and gingerbread dough crumbles on top; press to adhere. Chill until set, 10 to 15 minutes, then break or cut bark into pieces. Refrigerate until ready to eat.


Makes 2 pounds.